Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:8-10)
I believe that in God’s providence, Love has been my theme of late. It is a serious subject indeed and all of our problems are due to a lack of it, or a failure to live up to Love.
If we would love each other, we would never sin against each other. All of the Law of God, is summed up in this commandment of God, that we should love one another.
There is no disconnect between the Law and Love. Certainly lawlessness is not love. Even the Ten Commandments can be considered a primal teaching of Love. Jesus warned us that because of the increase of “lawlessness” in the last days, the “Love of many would grow cold”. This is a real danger.
What does it mean on a basic level to Love the LORD our God? We should have exclusive and supreme love for Him. To Love God is to love him, as God and Him alone! We should also Love Him as He has revealed himself to be, and not as we would like to imagine him to be…no idols!We should fear and regard Him, “hallow His name” and never take his name in vain. These things are impossible to do unless “the Love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost”. It is impossible to live a Holy Life without Love.
What does it mean to Love our neighbor (at least as much as we already love ourselves…notice how self love is a given?).
If I love my neighbor, I love his life, and would love and honor his marriage, his property and his good name. I would never resent him for what he has, if I really love him. Love fulfills all of the Will of God, and is the only way to live a pure and holy life. True morality is impossible without Love.
It is because we do not love one another, that we fight, take, seize, insist and demand our way. The Apostle James asked;
From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. (James 4:1-2)
That has always been our problem … a lack of love (other than for ourselves and our own concerns). He is writing to Christians and accusing them of warring and killing each other. Whats going on? Unless we remain in the state of grace which Calvary has brought us into, even Christians can soon degenerate into malice and enmity against anyone that we perceive gets in the way of our desires. This is what James is referring to.
Our sins always amount to a failure to love one another, a failure to seek one another’s good…rather we are too jealous to seek our own “rights” or to fulfill our own desire. Sin is a failure to love.
What came into my life with the gospel? Love. We have in Jesus a revelation of true Love and cannot be the same ever since. God loved us…He sought our good at his expense. There was nothing “lovable” or “desirable” in us. God just loved us, and that Love has and is transforming us.
The revelation of Jesus is a revelation of the Love of God. Paul tells us that it was God who was in Christ.
We have always known what it means to love ourselves and our own people and interests. Jesus told us that sinners “love those who love them…”, it is in their interest to love themselves, their family and tribe and clan and nation to varying degrees.
It was when God became a man and actually came to us, who were his enemies, only then could we begin to truly see what Love looks like. Divine love, Agape, is a love of the will. It is a choice to seek the good and well being of another, regardless of what they are or offer. Love seeks the good of another.
Jesus loves us. The Father loves us, and He sent the Son, to be the Savior of the World.
He knew we were lost and in need of a costly Redemption, which we could not afford, so God himself came to save us, at his own expense.
I couldn’t love God before…when I was under the law and under the threat and penalty of the Holy Law of God. Men are sinners because they hate God. They hate and defy his right to tell them what to do, how to live, to determine what “good and evil” is and his Sovereign power and authority over reality itself. The Mark of a sinner is God hatred. What Jesus did on Calvary brought us out from under the weight of the penalty of the LAW, and put us on God’s side.
All of the Law of God…(and by use of that term, I do not speak in a legalistic sense, but in the sense of the whole “way” of God, the Life of faith and ethics, relationship, truth, and reality) is fulfilled in Love.
What would happen if we focussed on responding to the Love of God revealed in Christ, by Loving God and by seeking the good of those He has put in our life? What would occur if you and I would just devote ourselves to loving God and each other? Would we fulfill the written commands without even trying to? I think we would and I believe that revival would break out, if Christians would return to their first love for God and for one another.
Jesus warned the church in Ephesus, ( a church whose zeal for the truth and for discernment and sound doctrine would put many modern churches to shame), that all of their excellent works would not offset the fact that they had “Left their first love”.
I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.( Revelation 2:2-5)
Such a warning is as applicable to us today as it was to the Ephesian church, and we would do well to take Heed…